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Archive for July, 2010

At the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Convention last week (July 7-11) in Seattle a resolution was passed that called for unionizing charter schools into already existing AFT locals (not separate locals) and called for transparency in budget, student progress, funding, and corporate and private interests. Apparently the AFT already represents 140 charter schools. All of the Baltimore charter schools are unionized and in NYC the AFT runs several charter schools.

Many of us were alarmed by this resolution because of the apparent embrace of the AFT of charter schools with the resultant move to privatization. The strongest objections came from the teachers from Washington, DC, and Chicago. The DC teachers worried about the influence of the private corporations/entities that run their charter schools on collective bargaining. The Baltimore teachers had no hesitation.

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Monsieur had all the varieties of incapacity which such a post required.

–Balzac, Lost Illusions

I almost thought that I began when it began, at Zirconium U., a county college dubbed by legislators, who had free miles on clichés, as the county’s “jewel in the crown,” which I had always thought means the Raj, but who knew? Not me. I didn’t know much thirty-eight years ago when I was hired full time as an instructor in the English Department, and where I realized the building I was interviewed and hired in was the building that housed almost all departments, administrative offices, and where the art studios were located in the attic of what was originally the Alms House for the county’s elderly and infirm poor; those considered “mad” were shackled in single, windowless cells, and shut in by a solid door with a single slot. Here, then, was the cafeteria–three snack and soda dispensers—a few steps from the mailroom and the college’s two duplicating machines. From the outside, the not-overly-large, mid-nineteenth-century, brick building looked as if it had been teleported out of Dickens’ Coketown. (The bricks were some of the last manufactured before the county’s largest industrial accident—a massive brick slide that drove workers, townspeople, the bricks forming the factory, straight into the Hudson River.)

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